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Higher base rates for using CAT tools (SDLX)?
Thread poster: Sílvia Miranda Sánchez

Sílvia Miranda Sánchez  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 20, 2008


I've been translating .doc files for a customer for a few months. Now, they said they have a TM (built with my previous translations, I suppose) which I will use for a translation with SDLX. There are some 100% and some fuzzy matches in this file.

They asked what my rates are for SDLX. I've searched throughout the forums and saw that some standard rates are:

0-74 = 100% of the base rate
75-99% = 50%
100% = 20%
Repetitions = 20%

However, my main question is: what should my base rate be? The same as my standard rate? Do you charge more (base rate) for using CAT tools, and then apply discounts on matches?

Thanks for your help!

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
English to French
+ ...
Different scheme to propose Mar 20, 2008

I suggest you apply your full rate to 0-84 and not to 0-74 matches. 75% matches are still too different from 100% matches and often, in a 75% match, you get some matching words but in a totally different order, which you will then have to rewrite so it makes sense, which usually takes as long as a no match segment. I suggest the following:

0-84%: 100% of your rate
85-99%: 50% of your rate
100% matches and repetitions: 20% of your rate

If the client is asking for a CAT rate scheme after having worked with you, this basically means they want you to lower your rate. They simply mean to keep your existing rate and apply CAT discounts to them, which should be OK since the segments you will apply a rebate to WILL take that much less time for you to process. However, you can take advantage of this situation and implement a rate increase. Don't tell them you increase the rate because you are using SDLX - that would be disaster! Tell them you have reviewed your rate because you are now more experienced and more in demand (you may also find more reasons in your dealings with your client). If you can pull this off, you may well end up making the same or almost the same money with this client as you did before.

All the best!

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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Dutch to German
+ ...
Discounts for fuzzy matches? Mar 20, 2008

You bet I won't. Anything below 95% goes for the full rate.

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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
English to French
+ ...
Proofreading rate for fuzzies Mar 20, 2008

Same as Wolfgang for me: no discount below 95 %. And 95-100 % matches + repetitions get proofreading rate, i.e. 30 % of my basic rate.
It's not only logical, it's also simple - CAT tools are here to work faster, not to lose time writing complicated invoices.

I agree with Victoria, if you can manage to get a higher base rate, that's a very good idea.
Good luck!

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
Italian to English
Who paid for the CAT tool? Mar 20, 2008

Hi Sílvia,

Did the customer pay for your CAT tool licence and will it maintain the translation memory?

If the answer is yes, then they have a right to ask for a discount, but if you paid for the tool and are maintaining the translation memory, why not charge them?

After all, agency-maintained TMs may not be up to your standards.

I have only ever agreed to use agency TMs with one customer, and do not regret having done so, because it was a good agency and updated the TM with its own editors' input. Nevertheless, I didn't feel particularly happy working this way, mainly because I disagreed on many occasions with the agency's editors: nothing serious, but they preferred translation options that I disliked for reasons that I thought I could justify.

Nowadays, I don't bother with agencies and don't even tell most of my customers that I use CAT tools.

As for rates, you're not going to get top dollar until you can get clients to come to you because they want the quality you deliver, and not the lowest possible price.



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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A different proposal Mar 21, 2008

I simply refuse to give discounts on partial matches. For me, "fuzzy matches" have something to do with poodle or sheep breeding.

If I'm delivering my translations on computer files instead of type- or hand-written pages, it's because I bought a computer. Likewise, I bought my CAT tool.

No taxicab will charge me less for the same ride because the driver/owner has automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering, and so on, available.

For me, the only exception in translation is "no brainers". For jobs larger than, say, 5,000 words, I offer as a courtesy 100% matches at absolutely no charge. It's just a keystroke, a matter of delivering a complete job without requiring the client to do some extensive copy&paste. Apart from that, I am a translator, I translate.

Some outsourcers just want Trados operators with basic translation skills. They provide the original, an all-encompassing TM, and just want someone to perform the operation and fix any glitches left, in exchange for a (small) bag of peanuts. Back to the driving analogy, they want parking attendants (who will know how to jump-start some ailing jalopy), not skilled mechanics.

My 2¢ (about what these guys offer to pay per word)

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Sílvia Miranda Sánchez  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks a lot! Mar 22, 2008

Ok, thanks a lot for your helpful opinions on this topic. I've decided to offer some discounts on fuzzy matches in the end, because I actually like working with this agency for different reasons; however, I've changed the rates according to your suggestions.

Thank you!

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